Thursday, June 30, 2011
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Monday, June 27, 2011
Friday, June 24, 2011
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Friday, June 17, 2011
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Wednesday, June 08, 2011
Tuesday, June 07, 2011
Friday, June 03, 2011
FYI Friday: Genetic Information Discrimination
Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA), which prohibits genetic information discrimination in employment, took effect on November 21, 2009.
Under Title II of GINA, it is illegal to discriminate against employees or applicants because of genetic information. Title II of GINA prohibits the use of genetic information in making employment decisions, restricts employers and other entities covered by Title II (employment agencies, labor organizations and joint labor-management training and apprenticeship programs - referred to as "covered entities") from requesting, requiring or purchasing genetic information, and strictly limits the disclosure of genetic information.
The EEOC enforces Title II of GINA (dealing with genetic discrimination in employment). The Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and the Treasury have responsibility for issuing regulations for Title I of GINA, which addresses the use of genetic information in health insurance.
Definition of “Genetic Information”
Genetic information includes information about an individual’s genetic tests and the genetic tests of an individual’s family members, as well as information about the manifestation of a disease or disorder in an individual’s family members (i.e. family medical history). Family medical history is included in the definition of genetic information because it is often used to determine whether someone has an increased risk of getting a disease, disorder, or condition in the future. Genetic information also includes an individual's request for, or receipt of, genetic services, or the participation in clinical research that includes genetic services by the individual or a family member of the individual, and the genetic information of a fetus carried by an individual or by a pregnant woman who is a family member of the individual and the genetic information of any embryo legally held by the individual or family member using an assisted reproductive technology.
Discrimination Because of Genetic Information
The law forbids discrimination on the basis of genetic information when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoffs, training, fringe benefits, or any other term or condition of employment. An employer may never use genetic information to make an employment decision because genetic information is not relevant to an individual's current ability to work.
Harassment Because of Genetic Information
Under GINA, it is also illegal to harass a person because of his or her genetic information. Harassment can include, for example, making offensive or derogatory remarks about an applicant or employee’s genetic information, or about the genetic information of a relative of the applicant or employee. Although the law doesn't prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are not very serious, harassment is illegal when it is so severe or pervasive that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted). The harasser can be the victim's supervisor, a supervisor in another area of the workplace, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee, such as a client or customer.
Under GINA, it is illegal to fire, demote, harass, or otherwise “retaliate” against an applicant or employee for filing a charge of discrimination, participating in a discrimination proceeding (such as a discrimination investigation or lawsuit), or otherwise opposing discrimination.
Rules Against Acquiring Genetic Information
It will usually be unlawful for a covered entity to get genetic information. There are six narrow exceptions to this prohibition:
•Inadvertent acquisitions of genetic information do not violate GINA, such as in situations where a manager or supervisor overhears someone talking about a family member’s illness.
•Genetic information (such as family medical history) may be obtained as part of health or genetic services, including wellness programs, offered by the employer on a voluntary basis, if certain specific requirements are met.
•Family medical history may be acquired as part of the certification process for FMLA leave (or leave under similar state or local laws or pursuant to an employer policy), where an employee is asking for leave to care for a family member with a serious health condition.
•Genetic information may be acquired through commercially and publicly available documents like newspapers, as long as the employer is not searching those sources with the intent of finding genetic information or accessing sources from which they are likely to acquire genetic information (such as websites and on-line discussion groups that focus on issues such as genetic testing of individuals and genetic discrimination).
•Genetic information may be acquired through a genetic monitoring program that monitors the biological effects of toxic substances in the workplace where the monitoring is required by law or, under carefully defined conditions, where the program is voluntary.
•Acquisition of genetic information of employees by employers who engage in DNA testing for law enforcement purposes as a forensic lab or for purposes of human remains identification is permitted, but the genetic information may only be used for analysis of DNA markers for quality control to detect sample contamination.
Confidentiality of Genetic Information
It is also unlawful for a covered entity to disclose genetic information about applicants, employees or members. Covered entities must keep genetic information confidential and in a separate medical file. (Genetic information may be kept in the same file as other medical information in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.) There are limited exceptions to this non-disclosure rule, such as exceptions that provide for the disclosure of relevant genetic information to government officials investigating compliance with Title II of GINA and for disclosures made pursuant to a court order.
Thursday, June 02, 2011
Do You Know What's Expected of You at Work?
But, there are all sorts of nuances to jobs and there may be things that you are expected to do that nobody may have shared with you. You are literally at the mercy of the person training you. If they are about to leave the company, especially not on good terms, or if they are relatively new to the job or if they were not trained well or if they don't give a rat's behind about performance and expectations (read: they are a slacker), you may not be receiving or you may not have received the training you deserve. More importantly, you may not know the full picture of what is expected of you by a supervisor/employer.
On top of that, without knowing expectations, it's hard to move up. How do you know when you are exceeding the requirements of your job to determine promotion opportunities and whether or not you are qualified? Knowing the expectations of your job has a direct correlation to the potential amount of money you can put in your pockets through advancement. So, here's the tip for promotions:
Find out all of the standards that your work and behaviors will be compared against and make sure you meet and/or exceed those levels! Ask to see your job description, if you don't have one. If the company doesn't have a description prepared, this happens more than you may realize, you could even volunteer to draft a description. This will show initiative and that you take your job seriously.
Additionally, you should keep performance logs to track how you’ve met and exceeded job expectations. Keep all thank you emails and letters from clients and coworkers that demonstrate that you’ve done a great job on an assignment. Share these emails with your supervisor/manager throughout the year, so they are aware that you are consistently doing a great job—and that you should be considered for a reward (bonus, raise, promotion).
Wednesday, June 01, 2011
LEGAL BRIEF: African-American Female Buyer Held to Unequal Standard, Federal Agency Charges
SAN FRANCISCO — A major pharmacy chain has agreed to pay $55,000 and to implement preventive training to settle a federal lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleging race and gender discrimination and retaliation, the agency announced yesterday. The EEOC had sued on behalf of an African-American female buyer who had been employed at Longs Drugs, which was later bought by CVS Caremark.
The EEOC’s suit asserted that Marcia Guaman was treated by Longs Drugs very differently from colleagues who were not black or female. For example, Guaman received verbal and written warnings for her performance numbers, while white female co-workers with lower scores did not face any disciplinary action. Also, Guaman’s requests for vacation days were denied, even though she asked prior to white co-workers who were granted vacation for the same dates, according to the EEOC. She was discharged from her position a few months after she raised the differential treatment to human resources.
Race and sex discrimination, and retaliation against workers who speak out against such treatment, violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. After first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through conciliation, the EEOC filed suit (Civ 3:10-CV-04384-RS in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California) against Longs Drugs and CVS Caremark, which is liable as Longs’ successor.
Both companies denied any wrongdoing. According to the terms of the consent decree settling the suit, CVS agreed to pay $55,000 to Guaman and will change its policies to clarify employee protections against discrimination and implement training designed to prevent future retaliation or discrimination.
“Employers should guard against bias creeping in to distort company policies, and training staff is an important preventive measure,” said EEOC San Francisco Regional Attorney William R. Tamayo.
EEOC San Francisco District Director Michael Baldonado said, “A major American employer like CVS Caremark has major responsibilities to a great many people, and needs to put extra effort into obeying anti-discrimination laws and maintaining a fair workplace.”
According to its website, www.cvscaremark.com, Woonsocket, R.I.-based CVS Caremark and Longs Drugs operate more than 7,000 retail pharmacy stores in 43 states. CVS Caremark, a corporation established in 1963, is the second-largest pharmacy chain in the United States.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.